Romney on the precipice

Santorum is surging toward an improbable win in Michigan — a victory that might just push the juggernaut Romney campaign right off a cliff

Robert Shrum

Mitt Romney now has some breathing space vouchsafed by the right-wingers who reluctantly picked him in the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll, not to mention the Republicans who bothered to show up at the semi-real polling places of the sparsely attended and barely contested Maine caucuses. That breathing space stretches to primaries in Arizona and Michigan on February 28. Lord knows what will come out of Romney's mouth between now and then.

At CPAC, Mitt eked out a narrow margin over Rick Santorum after the Romney campaign bought registrations to pad his total and the organization changed the voting rules in a way that benefited the establishment choice. The change was aimed at stopping Ron Paul, who'd won CPAC before, but didn't attend this year. It's part of a pattern in this year's GOP contest — from a "mistake" in Iowa that stole Santorum's victory on election night to the sudden rediscovery of previously unenforced rules in Virginia that are keeping Santorum and Newt Gingrich off the state's primary ballot.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us
Robert Shrum has been a senior adviser to the Gore 2000 presidential campaign, the campaign of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and the British Labour Party. In addition to being the chief strategist for the 2004 Kerry-Edwards campaign, Shrum has advised thirty winning U.S. Senate campaigns; eight winning campaigns for governor; mayors of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and other major cities; and the Democratic Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives. Shrum's writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The New Republic, Slate, and other publications. The author of No Excuses: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner (Simon and Schuster), he is currently a Senior Fellow at New York University's Wagner School of Public Service.